This pandemic has shaken us to our core, rendered many health care systems helpless, and brought countries to their knees. Our financial systems are suffering, economies are being battered by the ruthless onslaught that many believe it will take a while for it to fully recover. Industries are getting shut-down, some partially, others fully.
Families have been driven indoors, those who are lucky are working from home, others have been laid off. These are trying times to say the least. This pandemic caught all of us off guard and many are learning lessons while alone in isolation.
Here are just a few that people all over the world are realizing while dealing with this pandemic.
10. Countries are not ready for a pandemic
Judging by the way this virus caught even the most powerful countries off guard, suffice to say, the world isn’t ready for a pandemic. Many scientists believe that because we are inching so close to wildlife, this pandemic isn’t going to be the last. If people continue to invade habitats and use wild animals for food we will be seeing more pandemics come out of the woodwork in the future. Many of our animals in the wild are host to hundreds if not thousands of unknown pathogens. We need to be ready next time. We need to pour billions of dollars on research that will help us be ready when the next virus hits because experts believe the question isn’t “if another pandemic will come” anymore, now the question is “when?”.
9. We live in a global village
We are more interconnected than we think. What we do wherever we are in the world may impact those who live thousands of miles away. The wave of effect of what we do can be felt on the other side of the globe within hours. What theorist, Marshall McLuhan once predicted is coming true. Now we live in one global village, and no matter how many fortified physical barriers we build between each other we are going to be connected.
When the enemy is so minute it is invisible, no barrier can keep it out. With this realization, we need to be more responsible and mindful of our actions. One small mistake can kill thousands and affect millions worldwide.
8. We don’t need much to survive
Now that we’ve been stripped down to the basics, we realize that we don’t need much to survive after all. In many countries most affected by the virus, establishments have been closed save for the few ones deemed essential to keep populations alive. Now that we are down to just having shelter, food, clothing, and water we realize that aside from basic needs all we need are each other. Not expensive designer bags, not fancy clothes, not even luxurious watches, and extravagant parties. At the end of the day, our needs are pretty simple we were just distracted with the glittery, shiny things that made us think we need them.
7. Life is fragile and precious
This virus has taken thousands of lives all over the world, with many others still fighting in the ICU. By this time all of us probably know someone who lost a loved one because of the virus. It’s a lesson about life and death. Now we realize how fragile life is, how easily it can be taken from us and those we love. More importantly, we learn that life is precious and we need to cherish this while we still have time because death is inevitable and life is temporary. So we need to make the most out of our time with our loved ones now.
6. Many jobs can be done from home
Many companies have ordered employees to vacate offices and work from home. While this has been done by many companies before, for others this is something entirely new. This is the first time for others to work remotely. Now that they are getting used to this set-up after weeks of staying home, many are realizing that their jobs can be done at home or anywhere with a stable wifi connection.
Many companies now are learning that there isn’t a need to tie down people to their desks the whole day and they are just as productive, if not more if they work from home. Many who do not have to waste time traveling to the office are now using that extra time to get more work done.
5. Health is everything
You may have millions in your bank account from years of doing back-breaking work but if you don’t take care of yourself, that money won’t amount to anything when your body starts to fail. Health is way better than financial wealth. This is something we are realizing now so many are trying to make up by stocking up on vegetables and vitamin C.
Our bodies are our investment and if we don’t take care of it now when a virus this strong hits, we won’t have a fighting chance. Now we are learning that eating healthy isn’t just to make us look good, it’s also how we keep our bodies functioning and ourselves alive when viruses like coronavirus attack.
4. We have real heroes in the neighborhood
No, those heroes in movies can’t do much now that they too, like most of us, are stuck at home. They’re stuck in their big mansions calling each other asking who is more bored. Save for the millions they can donate it's not really them fighting this “battle for humanity”. Our real heroes are our tired doctors in the emergency rooms who are getting themselves exposed to the virus. Some of them have even died saving people.
The real heroes are our doctors and nurses receiving the waves upon waves of patients in the hospitals even with a dire shortage of personal protection equipment (PPE). It’s our grocery workers who continue to make sure we have everything we need to survive. It’s the delivery drivers bringing us what we need to live. It’s all the people we didn’t give much attention to before but are now doing their best to keep us alive and give us some semblance of normalcy amidst the chaos.
3. When facing a pandemic it’s the human race vs a virus
It’s amazing to see how many people regardless of political affiliations, race, color, or religion are now coming together to fight the spread of this virus and save the human race. How our efforts to self-isolate can answer the global call to flatten the curb.
What we are learning throughout this ordeal is that underneath we are all the same, we are all humans and to survive this we have to set aside things that used to divide us. A pandemic of this magnitude can only be stopped if we work on the same team and not against each other. It’s really the human race against this virus.
2. Different people have their own way of coping
We’ve seen people panic buy toilet paper out of all other necessities, we’ve seen others argue and fight online, we’ve seen some defy calls to stay home, and we’ve seen many dance on video as a form of escape. But underneath all these are fear, anxiety, and worry about what’s to come, about how things are panning out.
People manifest their feelings in their own way, they have their own methods of coping with difficult situations and we need to be more understanding. People are all under a steady state of stress that maybe we are acting differently as a means to cope.
1. Nature can still wipe us out
This pandemic has destroyed all prior illusions of invulnerability, all fantasies of power over nature and everything else. Nature is still much more powerful than all of our ultra-advanced systems combined. We are nothing compared to its forces, not even the most brilliant minds can fathom the exact extent of what nature can do and how it can wipe us out in an instant. There is still so much in nature we don’t understand and are not prepared to face.
As laboratories around the world race against time to figure out how to fight this virus, this pandemic continues to challenge what we think we know about nature. The experience is humbling as much as it is enlightening.
About the Author
Loraine Balita-Centeno is a Toronto-based writer, editor, and digital media manager who's been working for magazines, newspapers, and media sites for 15 years. Her work has been published in magazines like Cosmopolitan Magazine, Smart Parenting, Good Housekeeping, Dubai-based Illustrado Magazine, and Canadian news media site The Post Millennial among others.
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